Twitter just exploded : social media as alternative vox pop
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Digital journalism. - Abingdon, currens
, p. 910-920
University of Antwerp
News media regularly include the voice of the man or woman in the street alongside that of the actors involved in a news story. Journalists use these vox pops to give an impression of public opinion. With the coming of social media, access to peoples opinions has never been so easy. Little research exists about how social media (Twitter in particular) are used by journalists to describe public opinion. This is the question this research aims to answer by using a combination of a qualitative and a quantitative content analysis of Dutch and Flemish news websites. We found several patterns regarding the use of Twitter vox pops. First, we found Twitter to be regularly used as a representation of public opinion. Second, many items generalised these opinions to larger groups with strongmostly negativeemotions. Third, when referring to Twitter, the articles used (abstract) quantifiers and hyperbolic terms (commotion, explosions) to imply an objective basis for these inferences about the vox Twitterati.